Monterey’s biggest show celebrates not just cars but all things Italian

Monterey’s biggest show celebrates not just cars but all things Italian

Concorso Italiano ready for its 33rd taste of Italy showcase

With as many as 1,000 vehicles arrayed on the fairways of the Black Horse Golf Club in Seaside, California, Concorso Italiano is the largest of the collector car shows taking place during Monterey Car Week in late August. 

This year, Concorso’s 33rd, features a celebration of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Super and the marque’s other four-door sedans, as well as the Lancia Fulvia, Iso Rivolta and the 50th anniversaries of the Ferrari Daytona and Lamborghini’s Espada and Islero.

It’s not all red Ferraris, though there are lots of them | Rich Tsai photo courtesy Concorso Italiano

But Concorso Italiano is a celebration of more than Italian vehicles. It offers a full day of Italian style, fashion, cuisine, wine, art and music in a hilltop setting overlooking Monterey Bay.

“We are thrilled to be in our 33rd year as part of Monterey Car Week and cherish the fact that we are the biggest luxury and exotic Italian car show in the country,” event chairman Tom McDowell said in a news release. 

“Numerous Italophiles, enthusiasts, collectors, celebrities and hobbyists will come together to share their passion for these automotive works of art.”

A celebration of Italian cars, fashion and food | Franklin Cunningham photo courtesy Concoso Italiano

In addition to classes for Italian vehicles, the Concorso this year will showcase two categories open to cars from all countries — Global Exotics and Special Coachworks.

But Italian vehicles are featured, and Concorso organizers point to five specific vehicles to be highlighted at the event:

•  1951 Siata Gran Sport Spyder: “Based on the Fiat 1400, the Gran Sport Spyder was crafted extremely carefully, and was one of the largest models offered by Siata. It was known in the United States as the ‘little Ferrari’ due to its incredible speed. Due to its age and the number built, this example is incredibly rare.”

•  1952 O.S.C.A. MT4: “O.S.C.A., an Italian manufacturer of racing and sports cars, was established 1947 by the Maserati brothers. In their day, the MT4 model cars were exceptionally expensive but extraordinarily fast. Only 72 were built.”

• 1966 Bizzarrini P538: “This is a very rare rear-engined race car launched in the mid-1960s by Scuderia Bizzarrini. Five-speed manual transaxles were used in this car, with gearing specific to the race for which each car was constructed. This was the first V8-powered car to debut at Le Mans.”

•  1985 Ferrari 288 GTO: “This vehicle was designed for the legendary Group B racing circuit and is one of the top Ferraris ever created. It is a rear-engined, five speed manual that boasts a 400 horsepower twin-turbo 2.9-liter V8 engine. Only 272 were made.”

•  2017 Ferrari F-12 TDF: “Ferrari designed this model to pay homage to the Tour de France, the legendary endurance road race that Ferrari dominated in the 1950s and 1960s.The F-12 TDF is the ultimate expression of the concept of an extreme road car that is equally at home on the road as it is on the track. Only 799 have been built.”

Family time in the (car) park | Tim Scott photo courtesy Concorso Italiano

Special awards to be presented at Concorso include Best in Show, the Doug Magnon award and La Bella Macchina, the latter already announced with Egidio Reali, founder of MR Group, maker of very detailed hand-assembled scale model cars, as the recipient.

Alfa Romeo was among the first European automakers to put more-powerful engines into otherwise mainstream compact sedans. The Giulia TI Super was introduced at the Monza racing circuit in April 1963 and was produced in limited numbers (approximately 500) in 1963 and 1964. 

The cars had lightweight body panels and interior components, which cut weight by 200 pounds. they also had side-draft carburetors and higher-performance cams in their 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines. A floor-mounted shifter, lowered suspension and wider alloy wheels were part of the package. 

For racing — the cars were approved for competition in the European Touring Car Challenge — headlamps were replaced with cold-air intakes to help cool the engine.

Subsequent Giulia Super models would follow through the mid-1970s.

Ferrari unveiled its 365 GTB/4 model at the Paris auto show in 1968 as the successor to the 275 GTB/4. The car was designed at Pininfarina by a young Leonardo Fioravanti and became known as the “Daytona” after Ferrari’s 1-2-3 finish in the 24 Hours of Daytona race in 1967. 

Lamborghini’s Espada was designed by Marcello Gandini of Bertone and instead of being named for a fighting bull, it was named for the sword used by bull fighters. The Islero was the successor to the 400GT and was named after the bull that killed famed matador Manuel “Manolete” Rodriguez. 

Iso was a refrigerator manufacturer that produced motorcycles and scooters after World War II. Renzo Rivolta took over the company in 1953 and added bubble cars to the product mix. He worked with Bertone, Giorgetto Giugiaro and Giotto Bizzarrini to create a 2+2 coupe, the Iso Rivolta IR 300, which was unveiled at the Torino auto show in 1962. The car was powered by a Chevrolet V8.

Lancia debuted its Fulvia in 1963 at Geneva. The car was available as a 4-door sedan, 2-door coupe and as the Sport, a fastback by Zagato. 

The scene at the show | Tim Scott photo courtesy Concorso Italiano

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